Tom Corbett, Governor Barry J. Schoch, P.E., Secretary, Department of Transportation

Frequently Asked Questions:
Inspections

When does my vehicle require inspection?

Am I required to have an emission inspection?

What happens if my vehicle fails the emission inspection?

What happens if I do not have an emission inspection?

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When does my vehicle require inspection?

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Pennsylvania law mandates that most motor vehicles be inspected for safety reasons on an annual basis. Some vehicles are still inspected on a semi-annual basis (e.g. school busses) and others are exempt all together.

Privately owned passenger vehicles and light trucks all must undergo an annual safety inspection.

Am I required to have an emission inspection?

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You are required to have your vehicle checked for emissions if the following criteria apply to you:

  • You own a gasoline-powered car, van, or light-duty truck (9,000 pounds or less gross vehicle weight), with a model year of 1975 and newer
  • You reside in either Allegheny, Beaver, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Philadelphia, Washington or Westmoreland County

Some vehicles are exempt. Examples are:

  • Vehicles driven less than 5,000 miles in the year, regardless of their model year
  • Motorcycles for up to 12 months

This will benefit drivers who use their cars infrequently including some senior citizens and thus are less likely to be contributing to air quality problems.

What happens if my vehicle fails the emission inspection?

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If your vehicle doesn't pass inspection, you must make emissions-related repairs and have your car re-inspected before your current inspection expires. Making these repairs will not only reduce emissions, you will most likely improve gas mileage and prolong the life of your vehicle.

Your re-inspection will be free, as long as you have it done within 30 days at the same place that conducted the initial inspection. If your car still doesn't pass the inspection, and you can show that you have spent at least $150 on emissions-related repairs, you may be eligible for a one-year waiver. In some cases, you may have to spend more if the repair is the only reasonable way to address the problem, such as replacing a catalytic converter. You must obtain an emissions sticker or a waiver from a certified inspection station and pass a safety inspection before a permanent safety inspection sticker can be applied to your vehicle.

What happens if I do not have an emission inspection?

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Failing to pass an emission inspection or failing to receive an exemption will result in your being unable to renew your vehicle registration, nor will you be permitted to operate the vehicle until such time that it passes a test or receives an exemption.

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